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Pre 1900 History Pre 1900 Memories

Pre 1900 Photo Gallery

Prev Top Oulton Broad c1900 Pleasure wherry Naiade Interior of the wherry Naiade Interior of the wherry Naiade On board the wherry Naiade Norfolk Broads c1900 Pleasure wherries on the Norfolk Broads c1900 Sailing on the Norfolk Broads c1900

A fabulous image of two sailing craft captured on what is thought to be the River Bure Bure downstream of Stokesby - the rail bridge you can see in the background is part of the Acle to Yarmouth line and the bridge crossed Branch Road on the other side of what is now the A47 Acle Straight, opposite the Stracey Arms. (Thanks to Keith A for identifying the location via Twitter).

Great Yarmouth Yachting Station c1900 Stokesby from the River Bure c1900 Stokesby from the River Bure c1900 Wherry at Acle Bridge c1900

Stokesby Ferry, with the pontoon ferry itself seen on the right. In the background, to the left is the old corn tower mill. Back to Nicholas Everitt, who was less than complimentary about the village which he described as being : “a group of tumbled-down cottages erected upon the banks of the river in picturesque confusion, attractive to the artist but to no one else.

Another view of Stokesby, looking back towards the Ferry and the Ferry Boat Inn, with a rather fine trading wherry whose mate can be seen with a quant near the fore deck.

The holiday party have reached Acle, the old, arched stone bridge can be seen in the background. This looks as though it could be the same trading wherry from the previous photograph.

Acle Bridge c1900 Pleasure wherry Naiade Norfolk Broads c1900

Another photograph taken at Acle, downstream of the bridge, with ancillary buildings of the Angel Inn (now the Bridge Inn) on the opposite bank. In 1895, an article entitled “A Cruise on The Norfolk Broads” was published in Century Magazine, written by the American author Anna Bowman Dodd. On visiting Acle she wrote; “The Angel Inn had the air of having seen more stirring times. The little inn sitting-room was parlour and taproom in one; its chairs opened friendly arms, bits of old silver gleamed on the mantel-shelf, and low settles, cupboards, and tables of antique make were suggestive of the dead and gone figures that had peopled the cozy room.

A rather atmospheric shot of “Naiade” - I was unsure of the location here but was contacted via Alsion Yardy who has a photograph of the same building, labelled as being the old ice house at Irstead. Obviously not ther rather lovely thatched house of the same name at Irstead which has recently been restored to it’s former glory.

The Norfolk Broads c1900

A lovely scene, wherry masts in the background.

The Wherry Naiade at Ludham Bridge c1900 Wroxham Bridge c1900

“Naiade” moored at Ludham Bridge. William Dutt described the Ant in 1903 as “a river which many yachting parties are unable to explore on account of its shallowness and small arches of its bridges.” The original stone bridge, seen here, was replaced in 1915.

Wroxham, looking upstream towards the bridge. Probably the largest boating centre on the Broads at this time, most visitors arrived via train and, as the popularity of boating holidays had begun to increase, the village had soon adapted to capitalise on the influx of holidaymakers. Anna Bowman Dodd described the scene; “The booths and shops of the highroad running from the railway at Wroxham to the bridge displayed their tawdry flannels and cheap yachting caps with naïve, rustic ostentation. Peddlers were dancing fish-hooks in the eyes of dragonflies, and offering worms in tin boxes.

Wherry Naiade c1900

“Naiade” leaving her moorings - I’m not certain of the location here, but think it could be Coltishall which William Dutt described as: “the most picturesque waterside village in Broadland.

Cottages on the Norfolk Broads c1900

Another view taken at the same location as the previous photograph.

The River Bure at Horstead c1900

The first of two photographs which were taken on the River Bure at Horstead.

The River Bure at Horstead c1900

Another photograph taken on the River Bure at Horstead, the branch to the left where the boathouse stands leading to Horstead Mill, whilst the channel ahead leads to Coltishall Lock. The building you can see peeping through the trees is Horstead House.

Lugsail Dinghy Norfolk Broads c1900

The holiday party take to the tender to explore what looks like the upper reaches of one of the Broadland Rivers .. possibly the Bure?

Norfolk Broads regatta c1900

It looks as though there may be a regatta going on here - this looks like Wroxham Broad. William Dutt provided an evocative description of a Broadland regatta in his 1903 guide to the area: “During the last week in July, when the cruising season is at its height, a slow procession of all kinds of Broadland craft makes its way up the Bure. At Acle and Horning, regattas are held, in which not only regular racers but cruising yachts compete; then the whole fleet of wherries, pleasure-yachts, racers, and launches starts for Wroxham, where the season’s most important regatta is usually held on the first and second of August. At nine o’clock in the morning of the opening day, the Broad presents a gay and lively aspect. By that time most of the cruising craft are moored and decked with bunting; but all day long small sailing boats keep arriving on the scene. Given fine weather, every one, from the chairman of the regatta committee to the juvenile occupants of the dilapidated marsh-boat which invariably gets in the way of the racers, is in good spirits. Yachtsmen don their whitest flannels and ladies wear their prettiest dresses; music is heard above the whispers of the reeds and fluttering of flags. Every train from Norwich, Yarmouth and Cromer brings its load of yachting folk, whose yachts are ready to take them down to the Broad; blue-jerseyed crews stagger under the weight of well-filled hampers; trading wherries for a time become pleasure-craft, and are thronged with holiday-makers, each of whom is bent on enjoying himself to the utmost. When dusk comes down on the Broad a pretty scene is presented; many of the yachts are illuminated, while rowing boats, carrying coloured lanterns, row in procession round the Broad. Across the still water comes the tinkling of banjos and music of voices blended in merry choruses. Late into the night lights are burning in many of the yachts cabins, and often the sounds of revelry cease only when the light of dawn is seen in the eastern sky.”

Norfolk Broads c1900

The final photograph of this collection is a rather lovely study of one of Naiade’s hired crew in the lug-sailed dinghy which was the tender to the wherry.

This set of photographs were digitised from the original quarter plate glass negatives. Once again, the photographer and people seen are unknown, but they follow a group who holidayed aboard the pleasure wherry Naiade which was hired from Oulton Broad. I’m uncertain of the exact date, but they appear to have been taken during latter half of the 1890s.

A slightly blurry offering to begin with, but this is Oulton Broad, the starting point of the group’s holiday. The building you can see on the right with the conveyor/chute leading to the top floor was the premises of Everitt & Son who were coal and seed importers, and coal & coke merchants. There was apparently a major fire here c1900 and the granaries, oilcake store, mill house, elevator and engine house were destroyed. The building you can see sits roughly where the current harbour masters office is at the yacht station.

This is the wherry “Naiade” moored at an unknown location. I can’t tell you a great deal about Naiade - she was clearly a conversion of a trading wherry and still has her black sail. In his 1937 book “The Norfolk Wherry”, G. Colman Green listed Naiad (no ‘e’) as a trader which had begun life as the “Jenny Morgan”, a wherry of 30 tons which was built by Petch at his yard near Cow Tower in Norwich. Roy Clark also listed a Naiade (with the ‘e) as being the former Jenny Morgan in his book “Black Sailed Traders”, so we can assume that this is probably the same wherry. Oulton Broad was a major yachting centre at this time and all manner of craft could be hired from numerous owners there. Nicholas Everitt (after whom the local park is named) advised: “one can, at the shortest notice, charter any craft from a sea-going yacht to the tiniest rowing boat afloat. To all the hotels fishing boats and punts, with professional watermen are attached. Beside these there are many who set their living by letting small craft.” Robert Kemp was one of the well known boat builders at Oulton Broad and was listed in the 1891 edition of Ernest Suffling’s guide book  “The Land of The Broads” as having wherries for hire, along with G.Smith at the Waveney Hotel and J. Bullen at the general stores. There were a number of other owners listed at Oulton Broad as having all manner of boats for hire including R.Gooch, K. Johnson, W.M. Wilson, R. Barber and Q.H. Stebbings.  

The first of two photographs of Naiade’s saloon which are just wonderful - there are so many stories to tell here. Dominating the scene is the small piano - note the two plate cameras sitting on top with freshly gathered bull-rushes propped between them. The sheet music is “The Miners Dream Of Home” which was co written (in 1891) and performed by Leo Dryden, a well known English music hall singer and vocal comic. Real name George Dryden Wheeler, he met and had an affair with a fellow performer who went by the stage name of Lily Harley. She was in fact Hannah Chaplin, the mother of future silent film star Charlie Chaplin. The affair produced a son, George Dryden wheeler Jnr, and led to the breakdown of Hannah’s marriage to Charles Chaplin Snr. Sitting on the berth to the left is some well travelled luggage and the requisite straw boater, to the right a striped boating blazer hangs beside a heavier overcoat/mackintosh. On the table, maps and papers are spread, pen and ink to hand. Could the book be one of the well known guides to the area written by George Christopher Davies, or Ernest Suffling I wonder?


Spinning round 180 degrees, this was the other end of the main saloon, looking through in to one of the sleeping cabins. In his book “Broadland Sport” published in 1902, Nicholas Everitt wrote: “There are hundreds of trading wherries in Norfolk, and of late years a large number have been temporarily or permanently converted into pleasure-going craft. Amongst the latter are many magnificently fitted, with every conceivable convenience, luxury and bric-a-brac, which would rival many of the best house-boats on the Thames.

Is the chap on the right possibly quanting here? Hard to tell, but Naiade seems to be firmly against the reeds.


Two pleasure wherries - the one in front looks as though it may have been purposely built, or permanently converted for pleasure use, whilst the wherry at the rear looks as though it may be a slightly more makeshift conversion of a working trader. Both have their ‘bonnets’ laced to the bottom of the sail to catch as much wind as possible.


Great Yarmouth, showing that double mooring was going on in back the 1890s! Wherries and sailing cruisers could also be hired from various owners at Great Yarmouth, passenger steamers bringing in holidaymakers from London and the south east coast, whilst others arrived at the nearby train station. Numerous hotels, villas and boarding houses were available in the town for those who preferred to experience the delights of this popular seaside resort with a land-based holiday.